As I’ve mentioned before, I still have my diaries from 2000-2002. Because they are kept quite close to my desk, I sometimes find myself gazing through them to find out what I was doing “today in 2000” or “today in 2001” etc. Sometimes the entries make me laugh, and occasionally they make me cross, but often they bring up something I had completely, utterly forgotten about. This is what happened to me last week…
I happened to pick up my diary from 2001, to see what I was doing on 1 February that year and the first words that greeted me were, “What a horrible, shitty, afternoon.” It recalled a conversation between two superior work colleagues – let’s call them Mavis and Flo – and it went something like this:
Flo was telling Mavis about a job that had appeared on the noticeboard, for an Internet Coordinator. They were discussing the pros and cons of such a position, when all of a sudden Flo appeared at my desk and said rather sheepishly, “Michelle, why don’t you go for the job?” Since I was just minding my own business, getting on with my work, the arrival of Flo – and her question – took me by surprise. Before I could answer, however, Mavis shouted over from her desk, “I’m sure Michelle could do it technically, but maybe she couldn’t cope with the people.” By now this whole conversation was getting on my nerves, so I tried to fob them off, but Flo wasn’t eager to go. According to my diary, the rest of the statement from Flo, was as follows:
“I think you should go and ask the Personnel Manager about the Internet Coordinator job. I’d love to see her face if YOU said you wanted to go for it. Wouldn’t it be so funny if YOU applied for THAT job?! It would be worth it just for the laugh of seeing what HR would do, if YOU turned up in their office… Oh, if you do go for it, please let me be there, because it would be such a good laugh!!!”
Nowadays, if someone told me I should apply for a job just because they thought it would be hilarious, I’d tell them what they could do with their opinions. But back then I had the self-esteem of a gnat and her comments sent me into a spiral of negative thoughts and self-doubt. While my diary notes that I wanted to speak to Flo later about her remarks, I didn’t of course, and instead just went home, cried to my husband and ate chocolate!
I wanted to tell you this story because I’m sure we have all known a Flo at one time in our lives. That person who builds themselves up by putting you down, and having a great chuckle about it at the same time! But let it be known that these remarks have zero to do with you, and absolutely everything to do with them. No matter how awful you may feel at the time, please do not let these naysayers have any influence over you, your ambitions, and your self-respect.
In fact, my biggest advice to you would be to turn the whole thing on its head and use the remarks as a catapult to prove them wrong – even if it takes you a few years to do it. Remember this – It’s the naysayers who rarely do anything good with their lives, and now that I think of it, I’ve never met a happy one, either. Their assaults are as a result of being unhappy in their own lives, and should have no bearing on yours at all. If you’re reading this post while stuck in an unfulfilling day job, know that through hard work and determination, things can turn around. And to anyone who is currently working with Flo – I’d like to wish you good luck with that! 🙂
Until next time,